Category Archives: Featured

spring flowers

Youth & Family Events – All are invited

OMG YOUTH AND FAMILY EVENTS

GRADUATION RECOGNITION

We will celebrate with our Graduates on Sunday June 2nd.                 

After worship, cake & refreshments will be served in the Fellowship Hall.  Congratulations to our High School Seniors and College Graduates!

BACKYARD BASH

June 12th, 6:30-8:30pm @ Our Savior’s.

Join us for a fun-filled night with a campfire, water activities, pizza and refreshments!

MOVIES ON THE LAWN

June 26th, 6:30-8:30pm @ Our Savior’s.

Movie, popcorn, snacks and refreshments served! Please bring your own blankets, or chairs to sit on!

LAURENTIAN CONFERENCE HOG ROAST

July 10th Evening @ Messiah Lutheran.

Food and fellowship with our conference! Outdoor games, activities, and a bouncy house!

DAY CAMP BBQ

July 25th Evening @ Messiah Lutheran.

Food and fellowship with our Day Camp leaders and campers, Outdoor games, and activities!

LAURENTIAN CONFERENCE  MINNESOTA TWINS GAME

August 7th, 12:10pm Game Time   Cost: $40

Includes: Transportation via Coach Bus w/Snacks, $5 Meal Voucher, Ticket to game (Section 102), Pizza Party Dinner and Prizes

Contact: Ben Anderson for sign-up, (40 spots available)

(218) 820-8524 banderson@oslcmn.com

July 10th is the last day to sign-up for this event – don’t wait!

 

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Synod Assembly Update

Happy June everyone,

Last Sunday during the announcements there was a report about the synod assembly last month. I wanted to use this week’s weekly witness to share about the resolutions that were voted on and our synod’s plans for next year’s synod assembly. All the information is available on the synod website http://www.nemnsynod.org/

For me, a highlight of the assembly was the Quilt Auction and Marketplace: Assembly-goers generously gave a total of $4,647.50 from the Marketplace, and $9,545.00 from the Quilt Auction, which will all be given to ELCA World Hunger.

Steve Carlson and Pastor Erik were also elected to the synod’s discipline committee.

This is Bishop Tom’s final year and the synod will elect a new Bishop in May 2020. Now, any member- this includes you- can nominate any pastor to be considered. There is a survey that is being put forth about what qualities our next Bishop should have, there will be meetings and opportunities to hear from prospective candidates next winter/spring.

God’s Blessings to you~ Pastor Erik

Here are the resolutions that were passed:

#19-1: Migrants at the United States-Mexican Border – that the Immigration, Refugee, and Asylum Seekers Committee draft a letter urging the President of the United States and the United States Senators and Representatives from Minnesota to encourage policies that welcome migrants and that our synod Bishop share this resolution, the drafted letter and a statement from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service dated February 5, 2019 with the congregations of this synod for study and action. Approved

#19-2: Companion Synod Support – that the Northeastern Minnesota Synod, beginning in its 2021 Synod Budget and beyond, commit to long-term assistance in funding of the Companion Synod relationships as a reflection of our synod-wide support of our global companions and that congregations also be encouraged to add a Companion Synod Support line item to congregational budgets, WELCA budgets and/or global mission committee budgets and that all congregations be encouraged to deepen accompaniment with our Companion Synods through prayer, available speakers, visits from our global partners, bulletin inserts, Online reflections, and other learning opportunities. Approved

#19-3: Opposing Conversion Therapy – that the Northeastern Minnesota Synod condemn the ineffectual, harmful, and dishonest practice known as “conversion therapy” and support measures intended to prohibit the practice and protect children and vulnerable adults from its practice and that the Northeastern Minnesota Synod call upon its congregations and members to also oppose the practice of “conversion therapy” and that the Northeastern Minnesota Synod in Assembly urge its bishop (or designee) to make the synod’s position on this matter known throughout the synod and to the public at large. Approved

#19-4: A Commitment toward Gender Justice: Call to Repentance – that the Northeastern Minnesota Synod respectfully call upon our bishop to issue a public statement recognizing and repenting of the immeasurable harm done to the LGBTQ Community by the teaching of the Christian Church on the subject of human gender identity and orientation and that the NEMN Synod of the ELCA formally repent of that damage and sincerely seek to make amends with the LGBTQ community through intentional study and dialogue with them and that the Northeastern Minnesota Synod encourage congregations to use ELCA resources such as “Talking Together as Christians Through Tough Social Issues” and our “Social Statements on Human Sexuality” and to invite LGBTQ persons into their congregations to share their stories in an effort to have faithful, respectful, and caring conversations exploring the history of abuse the LGBTQ community has suffered from the Church and to explore ways we can grow toward walking together in love as children of God and that we offer our full support and prayers to the current Synod Task Force which is currently examining these LGBTQ issues in the NEMN Synod. Approved

 

 

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Summer Evening Services

SUMMER EVENING SERVICES

We will hold additional Sunday Evening Summer Services @ 6pm for the month of June, with communion.

Messiah Lutheran Church will hold the Summer Evening Services in July, and Gethsemane Lutheran Church will host them in August.

We are happy to provide these additional services for people who spend time away from home during the summer months, or who spend weekends away and are unable to make it for the morning worship services.

 

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Expectation

Romans 5:1-5

1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

 

Hello brothers and sisters in Christ. Romans 5:1-5 is one of the readings coming up on Sunday. I find lots of meaning and significance in this reading. One of the things I like is the vocabulary word “hope” that the Apostle Paul uses. Interestingly, another interpretation of the word “hope” from Greek into English is “expectation.” So, we can read verse 2 in a different way, “ we boast in our expectation of sharing the glory of God.” The word “hope” and expectation” can mean the same thing, but I feel as if “expectation” is a bit stronger and more concrete.   It is especially strong in light of the end of verse 4 through verse 5- “character produces expectation and expectation does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. The Apostle Paul states in a factual way that the Holy Spirit has already put God’s love into our hearts, and because this act has already happened, we can expect and plan on participating in and sharing God’s glory.

Often times we think of hope in a passive way. For example, I hope there will be an ice cream sandwich waiting for me in the freezer after the kids are asleep in their bed tonight. There might be ice cream or there might not be. I don’t know. Hope implies some doubt.

Therefore, when it comes to God and our relationship with God – God’s love and sharing in God’s glory is more than simple “hope” it is expectation based on who God is due to the love and grace that God has already poured into us.

Have a wonderful week everyone. It is my expectation that all of you will continue to be lead by the Holy Spirit in new, fulfilling and life-giving ways.

Blessings ~ Pastor Erik

 

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A Challenging Love

John 14:23-29

23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

                Last week we focused on the “new commandment” that Jesus spoke of in John 13:34 “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” I interpret this weeks Gospel reading from John 14 in light of John 13. Therefore, when Jesus instructs Judas (not Iscariot) that the keeping of Jesus’ word is connected to the love of the Father together with the mutual indwelling of Jesus and the Father with the disciple. So, loving each other just as Jesus modeled his love for people is what we are understanding verse 23 to be about. Again, this love that Jesus is commanding is agape love. It is not romantic (eros) love. It is brotherly/friendship love (philia). It is a self-giving, humbling, servant, promise of unconditional welcoming and acceptance type of love.

For me, this scripture is extremely upsetting and challenging and I worry that I can’t live up to this expectation. In fact, I know I can’t. However, I am greatly relieved and calmed by verse 26 because in it Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to be my guide, teacher and advocate. By naming the Holy Spirit as a teacher, Jesus acknowledges that he knows I still have more to learn and that “I’m not there yet.” So, of course I am upset and challenged, as I suspect most of you are to because at the moment, I am not equipped to fulfill this expectation. But I will be because of the Spirit’s promise. And you will be too.

Your co-worker in Christ~ Pastor Erik

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“. . .If You Have Love for One Another”

“. . .If you have love for one another.” 

John 13:31-35 Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,  if you have love for one another.”

This Sunday’s gospel reading is commonly known as the “love commandment.” Interestingly, Jesus declares that he has a “new” commandment for the disciples. However, the commandment “love one another” is not new. It is a solid Old Testament theme that has been a foundation of the faith for many generations. Leviticus 19:18 states, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” Also, Leviticus 19:34 “The foreigner who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the foreigner as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God”
So, in what sense is this new commandment to love one another new? Identifying the context of John 13 is helpful. John 13:1-21 is the depiction of Jesus portraying servant leadership by washing the feet of the disciples. Jesus is modeling love by humbling himself and serving rather than being served. Therefore, serving others is what love is. Then in John 13: 21-31, Jesus foretells his betrayal by Judas. This betrayal sets in motion the arrest, sentence, humiliation, crucifixion, and ultimately the death of Jesus. Wow. Judas has done immense evil and caused terrible pain. Jesus knew all along what Judas would do, but he still included him in the foot washing. So, Jesus models the act of love to include forgiveness and mercy. As if that is not enough John 13:36-38 is Jesus’ prediction that Peter will deny Jesus three times. So, Jesus’ love is even abundantly given to those who cowardly deny knowing him.
Loving others who are kind, gentle and loyal is easy. Jesus commands his followers to move above and beyond the easy and convenient life. Loving others who have betrayed us, caused pain, abandoned us, and live a life of greed and self-service what we are called to do. No, simple task, and we can’t do it alone. In order to lead a loving life we need to support of each other. We need to worship and be part of a community. We need to hear over and over again that we are loved, blessed and forgiven by God. We need to know that every day, through the gift of baptism, we are born-again and can start fresh.

God’s Love~ Pastor Erik

 

Advent Candles in the snow with evergreen branches red berries and a snowy forest in the background. Christmas Eve all five candles lighted.  The Prophecy, love,   rose or joy,  peace, and central white "purity"   candles are lit.

Youth Announcements – Winter is upon us!

Happy Holidays!


I am incredibly excited to start the season of advent with you all! The month of November was busy for our youth, and December is going to be even more eventful! Again, our Sunday school will be putting on the Christmas program on December 9th! It will be wonderful telling of Jesus’ birth—performed by all members of our program with some songs mixed in! Our children have been working diligently over the past few weeks, and are excited to show our Congregation! After our program we will spend the last few Sundays of the Advent season going over details in the Christmas story, as well as creating all sorts of crafts!

Confirmation students are in for a change with the season as well! Starting on December 5th Our Savior’s will be hosting Confirmation classes! We have had a wonderful time at Messiah, but I’m excited to bring the joy of our fellowship to our building! We had 13 youth attend the Middle School Youth Gathering at Cragun’s a few weeks ago! We had a blessed time worshipping with youth across our synod, and had a blast with all the fun activities the LYO board had planned for us! On December 12th we will have our Christmas and caroling event, which will include all of our Confirmation students going to Assisted Living Facilities to spread the Christmas cheer that is starting to build up in our hearts! Drivers are still needed for this event to help transport students to each place! Once we have sung our last carol we will come back to Our Savior’s to celebrate in fellowship with Hot Cocoa and snacks!

Our Confirmation program also hosts a meal on Wednesdays before class in which all are welcome to attend, this also means we need volunteers to help with these meals! If you have any interest please reach out to me.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

Ben

Confirmation classes will start meeting at OSLC in December on Wednesdays at 6:30pm as usual!

 

 

christmas and thanksgiving

Giving Thanks. . .

 

2 Corinthians 9:11

11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 107:8-9

8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Happy Thanksgiving! This week I especially pray for you and all people to experience on overflow of generosity- both generosity from and generosity toward.  I pray for you to have a generous portion of kindness, compassion, quality time, rest and relaxation, love, peace, and good food. Our national day of Thanksgiving is centered on giving thanks to God for all the blessings God has bestowed upon us. Just as God has acted generously towards each of us in our lives and faith, let us reflect God’s generous character to our families and neighbors.

God Bless you~ Pr. Erik

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All people. . .

Mark 9:38-40

38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.  40 Whoever is not against us is for us.

 There are an estimated 40,000 different Christian denominations in the world. That is a lot! The majority of the 40,000 are small splinter groups from mainline denominations or they are unaffiliated stand-alone congregations. For me, it is interesting to think about how one Bible is the authority of so many different groups. Different groups mean different theological interpretations, different points of emphasis, and different ways of worship. A look at the nightly news and basic study of history shows that people often look towards other denominations with suspicion and even aggression. World history headlines from the past two thousand years show that these differences have directly led to, or at least played a role in major wars resulting in countless tragedies. This reading from Mark 9 firmly directs us to reexamine how we interact with and treat people from other Christian traditions. Simply stated, Jesus tells us that different is ok. The name of Jesus is what truly matters, and the name of Jesus is what transcends cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences in order to bring all people together.

This week, I invite everyone to have a conversation with someone from a different Christian tradition to share something about church or worship style and to also learn something new about another group.

A few years ago I heard an excellent sermon which used the phrase, “remember, different people are not a failed attempt at being you. All people are unique expressions of being children of God.”

With grace~ Pastor Erik

Autumn Maple leaf transition and variation concept for fall and change of season

The Changing Season

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Every day I notice the maple tree in my front yard gets a few more red and yellow leaves on it. When the tree first started turning, I was dismayed and even a bit upset. I want to tell the tree that it is WAY too early. I’m not ready! Summer is not over yet. There are still summer events, destinations and projects on my to-do-list. Autumn means school is starting, rally day, confirmation, committee meetings, etc. Where did the time go? However, I only grumbled for a day or two, then I began viewing the colorful tree in a different way. I began viewing the tree with enthusiasm and joy, because it means that school is starting, confirmation will begin, the new committee structure will be presented and get into full action, and all the church people will be back in the pews on Sundays. Getting back into “full-church-mode” (quote from my grandma) is something to be very enthusiastic and joyful about. Full-church-mode is a good thing. It means the Spirit is active.

Speaking of my to-do-list, here are some updates I want to communicate with all of you.

  • Our new Director of Youth and Christian Education, Ben Anderson, will be formally joining our ministry team on September 5th and Rally Sunday will be his first Sunday at Our Saviors! I know last December my family and I felt very welcomed by the church (I still feel very welcomed) and I know you’ll show the same generosity, kindness, and hospitality to Ben.
  • Rally Sunday is Sept 9th! We will have a bouncy house, games and snacks after worship. During worship we will celebrate our youth by giving Bibles. We will also recognize the wonderful Eucharist team. Sunday school will begin the following Sunday. Full-church-mode!
  • OSLC, Gethsemane, and Messiah will have confirmation together this year. This has been a big project in the making with lots of meetings and communication amongst the churches. I think that all the kids will benefit from having a large group of friends, guides, pastors and mentors walking with them in their faith journey. There are too many details to list and I am personally communicating with the confirmation families about dates and questions. It is going to be great!
  • I am going to join our synod’s companion team trip to Honduras the first week in October. As you all know, Global Mission is a passion of mine and I am very excited about participating in this program. Several pastors from our synod are going to be leading theology, church administration, and pastoral-care workshops for newly ordained Honduran pastors. I will invite you to participate in a fund-raiser during September for a portion of the trip’s cost.
  • Later in September, Pastor Amy Odgren from the Synod office will visit with the church councils of OSLC, Gethsemane, and Messiah and lead a visioning discussion about ministry, stewardship, and where is the Holy Spirit is leading our three congregations in the future.

I want to thank all of you for your faithfulness, grace, and kind words. There is a lot to look forward to and be excited about. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please let me know. You are the church and I am always looking for ways to serve the church better and more efficiently.

Autumn Blessings ~ Pastor Erik